Monthly Archives: April 2013

1993 Never Forgets

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This is what 1993 looked like...recent life events are beginning to make more sense...

This is what 1993 looked like…recent life events are beginning to make more sense…

I stopped gathering my mail from the mail box a few months ago. Right after Christmas…because…why bother? It’s not going to be good news. It’s only going to be junk or bills. And that’s not fun. In my effort to keep my PMA I decided that the mail and the phone will be avoided at all costs…except when I am expecting a check or when my best friend calls. That’s it. Everything else is crap.

But, I know sometimes criminals will watch a mail box and if the mail isn’t collected daily they will break in and steal stuff, thinking the people are on vacation. Now, seeings how I am not on vacation, but am sitting quietly inside my house I certainly do NOT want any criminlas breaking in and catching me in my pj’s with my hair not done. That would be embarrassing for them and for me. Therefore, I collect my mail every few days…ya know, to keep the criminals away.

So, friday I grabbed a wad of mail out of the box and brought it in and threw it on the chair and ignored it. Well, I didn’t really ignore it. I gave it the finger every time I walked by it. Until yesterday, when with resentment and curse words and lots and lots of anger, I went thru the mail. It was mostly junk, a few bills and of course the “hey Dumbass Pay Your Student Loans” letters. Oh but there was ONE from the city court saying “OPEN ME RIGHT NOW OR BE VERY VERY SORRY” Damn it. I hate when they say that right on the outside of the envelope. So, I reluctantly opened it.

Inside was a letter saying that in 1993, I was given a ticket for not properly attaching my registration or maybe inspection sticker to the windshield of my car as required by NYS law. Wait…what???? 1993???? I don’t remember 1993. At all. Or 1992 for that matter. Regardless, they will be suspending my driver’s licence as of May 18th if I don’t resolve this issue…wow.

In august of 1993 I was 19 years old. I had a Chevy Citation that I can’t be sure even had a windshield to affix anything to. But 20 years later, after college, homes bought and sold, 3 kids, a divorce and many many new cars (with working windshields) I am going to be put through the hassle of having my licence revoked? Because of 1993????

THIS IS WHY I DON’T COLLECT MY MAIL!!!

I call the city court and lo and behold, this particular ticket had been dismissed in 1994. GREAT! But, this is me we are talking about so…..there is a similar ticket from 2006 that is actually the one that will suspend my licence. What???? 2006????? Ya know what happened in 2006? You don’t want to know what happened in 2006. It wasn’t a good year. I remember it well.

Ok, now I have to go to the city court, get the ticket, go to traffic court and see if the judge will dismiss it. Or fine me, whatever but I can’t have my licence suspended. I am the ONLY driver and my kids have STUFF to do. And I drive 60 miles a day round trip for work. I wish I could hire a chauffeur but alas, I am a single mother so no help for me ( come on…just a little sympathy…no? Fine)

I go to the city, find a parking spot with the old fashion parking meter that takes change, put in 2 hours worth of quarters because it would be so ironic to get a parking ticket while in traffic court, and go directly into the wrong courthouse. After going thru the metal detector and being patted down because I kept beeping (maybe there is a metal plate in my head and THAT is why I can’t remember 1993…it’s possible) I march right into the wrong room. They tell me I have to go to the other court house around the block. Great. I go get in my car not thinking that I am literally one block away from the other courthouse, drive all over the city to find another parking spot literally a quarter block from my first parking spot. It is so hard to be me sometimes.

I hop out, put in another 2 hours worth of quarters in the meter and march to the other courthouse. I find the right place. The lady behind the counter listens to my story, pulls up the paperwork and tells me to go to the courtroom. She looked very sympathetic to my plight which I appreciated. Off I go to see the judge. I check in with the officer and take my seat in the pew. No really, they are pews, not seats. Being in a pew, I said a prayer “Please God, don’t let me be arrested” For what? I have no idea but I am not kidding when I say I have no recollection of 1993…

Here comes the judge. We stand, she sits, we sit and I wait for the organ music to start. But just because we are sitting in pews does not mean we get to sing hymns. I learn something new every day! Then this super duper cute guy in a suit and tie calls my name. This experience just got alot better!! But wait! Maybe it’s a trap!!!! What the hell did I do in 1993????? He takes me into another room and sits me down. This kid is maybe all of 22. But golly he sure is cute! He says that the most he can do is knock the ticket down to a parking violation and I will just pay a small fine and be done with it. I blinked and wiped my drool (I am not kidding this guy was HAWT) and said ok! And he sent me back out to wait for the judge to call my name.

In line before me were incarcerated people and people who had lawyers with them. That was interesting. To watch the judge and how she was very stern and realistic with these people who had been arrested for lots of things. The dynamic between the lawyers and the judge was also interesting to watch. And then the guard called my name. And part of me wanted to run up to the bench and cry and beg for mercy. Part of me wanted to be totally indignant of the charges against me and start screaming about My Rights and the injustice of being an American Citizen and having to deal with The System. Instead, I just walked forward and smiled. The judge looked at the paper from the cute guy and said “really?” She looked at the guard standing next to me with disbelief. I started to sweat. Oh my God I am going to jail…1993 caught up to me. The guard sort of smirked. The judge said “I don’t even believe what a waste of time this is” and she crumpled the paper and said ” You are free to go. Go forth and sin no more my sister and procreate as the Lord has commanded” Well, actually she just said “This is dismissed” and the guard said “you’re done you can go” And I turned around and left. With such an incredible guilt because all those other people sitting in the pews were going to hate me.

Screw you 1993!!!!!! I’m free to do what I want any old time!!!!! As long as it is within the bounds of the motor vehicle laws of the great state of New York. Justice is sweet my friends….

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Girls Gone Wild Got NOTHIN On Me…

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hard rock 2It has been a very long week. It was spring break here so the kids were off from school. But the weather was awful and my daughter was sick and I don’t have work so that means I have way too much time to pay attention. Pay attention to the local news, the national news, the international news. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy current affairs greatly. But generally when I am working I can only devote a tiny part of my brain to the way the world should be.

This week I found myself in many debates, some with actual people (not just the voices in my head)! This North Korea thing has been a bit concerning if you ask me. I don’t understand it and therefore it scares me. I think that is a legit response to a country that I don’t understand who has nuclear weapons. Fear. I mean, I am not obsessed but I am interested enough to do a little research. I have had a few people tell me it is nothing, that the North Korean government does this blustering alot to keep its people under control. I am not so sure that is the case this time. I hope I am wrong. At the very least I have read some history on the leadership and the country itself. Being more informed is a good thing. So is living on the east coast.

Then there was the recent decision on allowing the Plan B pill to be sold OTC to all ages. So, that means that any child under the age of 17 can go pick up Plan B. My issue with this is that Plan B is a serious cocktail of hormones designed to stop ovulation. I think it is a very good drug, it is safe when used correctly but I take issue with the idea that a child can get this drug without any adult supervision. I can’t see how this is going to be a good thing for women’s rights or health.

If a girl is beginning puberty between the ages of 10 and 11 these days and is engaging in sexual activity by the age of 13 on average, her hormones are already in a state of chaos. Add to that an UNprotected sexual experience, which is more than likely with a male who is much older than she, the fear of parents finding out, and the idea of pregnancy and you have one messed up little kid. While I am in full support of a woman’s right to choose and I would think that Plan B would be a great option for a 12, 13 or 14 year old girl who found herself in this situation, I feel absolutely, without ANY reservation, that this medication should be prescribed by a medical professional. I don’t think the parents need to be notified or anything like that. But for the sake of the child, she needs to have a safe place to go, with knowledgeable people, who can not only dispense this medication so that she doesn’t get pregnant but, who can also give her options so that she doesn’t have to go thru this trauma again. A place like Planned Parenthood where she can be counseled about birth control and STDs and HIV prevention and relationships.

Marriage equality. That was a hot topic. The Supreme Court hearings on if gay marriage is legal or should be legal and what would change and what wouldn’t. Beyond all of the rhetoric, beyond all of the strong feelings and even beyond the love, it seems to me that there is no way that gay marriage could be considered illegal. It just doesn’t make sense. But to hear the Justices and their replies to the lawyers arguing for and against Prop 8 and DOMA was actually very entertaining. How the technicalities of the previous laws passed are now influencing how we are willing to interpret those laws. I really hope that now we know better, we do better. The verdict is still out…seems silly to me that we should have a debate on who can and can’t marry…in the year 2013….when we have already made asses out of ourselves 50 years ago debating and arguing over who can and can’t marry…but what do I know?

But having thought about “giving gays the RIGHT to marry” and what that might lead to….I am fairly certain that until dogs grow thumbs and speak english that they will NOT be allowed to marry their owners. The same goes for all other forms of livestock. And unless this new Pope is REALLY perverted, I mean progressive, I don’t see brothers and sisters  being allowed to marry either. Cause ya know, God rules, Congress drools. So, no worries y’all. I thought that one through…we are safe!!!

There was the prominent lawyer in town who was arrested on child porn charges. And then……released on bail. This was less than a month after a man who had been under house arrest for child porn charges, cut off his ankle monitor and raped a 10 year old girl and killed her mother. So, this one had me speechless. Which is not a condition I find myself in very often. The D.A. had asked for no bail but the judge granted 100 grand because this lawyer is a well known member of our community. I just….I….wow. Just wow. Ok, sure, there is the whole innocent until proven guilty thing…but when it comes  to child porn how about we just say a universal “no bail”. It’s worth it, in my opinion, to hold a possibly innocent person in jail until trial rather than allow them to be about in society and hurt more children.

Ongoing is : legislation on gun control (for), The Monsanto Act that was passed (against), Fallon taking over for Leno (for), and ofcourse the Big East basketball conference (eh…yeah).

In conclusion, I would like to remind everyone to Stop, Drop and Roll, only YOU can prevent forest fires, and next year we are definitely going to The Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park. I’m exhausted!

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Oh my drunk Uncle and the lessons he taught me…

Sparkling By The Way's Blog

  

Everyone has a “drunk uncle”. You know you do. He’s the guy at family parties who shows up half in the bag and then proceeds to stick his feet in the fireplace, or fall down the stairs. He’s the favorite of the children, he is the bane of the adults. He is generally funny and only shows up for family functions like Christmas or Thanksgiving or a baptism. The “drunk uncle” is always fun at church events.  

My “drunk uncle” eventually moved in with us. At that point, he wasn’t so much fun. He had the disease of alcoholism. That is a very nasty disease. And contagious. Alcoholism does not just effect the alcoholic, but the entire family. It makes those who love the alcoholic do really insane things. And generally they do these things totally sober. So, the alcoholic has the excuse of being drunk when they do stupid…

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Spencer Goes To The Dog Wash

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A new dog wash opened in a town a few miles from where I live. I was so excited when I saw this!! It is a dog/car wash. This sounds like the perfect solution to all of my dog washing issues. Neither Emma nor Spencer fit in the stand up shower, and it costs me 150 bucks to have them shaved. So, off to the dog wash we go!

dog wash sign

I pile Emma and Spencer into the car and which sounds like the easy part. Emma has to walk around the car at least 3 times before attempting the jump into the back seat. Sometimes she can’t decide which side of the backseat she wants to sit. I don’t see how it matters at all as she always ends up on the floor. I try the driver’s side back door…no go. The passenger side…nope. Back to the driver’s side…uh, no. Back to the passenger side…maybe….um…ok. And she’s in. Spencer gets his front paws onto the door jam and waits for one of us to lift his hind end into the car. It took me a few minutes to catch on to the fact that he was actually waiting for the rear end lift. He’s too proud to ask outright. I boost his butt into the car and he gets up on the seat waiting for me to roll down the window.

Emma is laying on the floor and Spencer is swaying with every turn of the car, knocking his head against the sides of the window. Every so often he falls on top of Emma and then steps all over her getting back up onto the seat. It’s just loads of fun.

dog wash shadow

We get there, to the dog wash, and unload. I didn’t know what to expect, but as I walk into the small room, I am so impressed!! It’s like what the real dog groomers use!!! A ramp, to a shallow tray that is waist-high, a hose that is connected to a machine that will do shampoo (oatmeal, flea and tick, or tearless) conditioner, fragrance and rinse. Then there is another hose that is a blow dryer!!! And yet another hose that is a vacuum with a comb attached so that you can actually vacuum the hair and water off the dog!!! So far, I am thinking that whoever devised this ingenious set up should be running the country!

I have seen the dogs on tv do this sort of thing….the run right up the ramp and then stand patiently as they are suds up and hosed down. Spencer immediately knows I am up to no good. He turns right around and stands patiently waiting for someone to open the door and let him out of this insanity. I turn him back around and try to encourage him to go up the ramp. Yeah, that’s not happening. Ramp walking is some sort of special skill that Spencer does not have. So, I help him. I put his front paws onto the ramp,and his backend immediately falls down. This is going to be a two person job, just getting him into the bath area. I grab the front, my kid grabs the back and we lift him onto the bath table. Spencer was amazed. He though for sure he was going to get out of this without getting bathed.spencer getting washed

Let the bathing begin! I even heard of a cool new trick where if you hold a dog’s snout they won’t shake!! I am totally feeling like a professional now!spencer getting washed 2

And on to the rinse….he is enjoying this, really…this is his happy face.spencer getting washed 3

The best part in my opinion (not necessarily Spencer’s) is the blow dry! Imagine, no wet dog smell!!!spencer getting washed 4

He is looking so handsome! And the best part is all of this washing and drying takes 8 minutes and costs 5 dollars!!!! Oh happy day! No more stinky mutts!!!

I think he looks devine…he thinks he has been through hell and he is NOT in the mood for picturesspencer not amused

Now, Emma has been watching this entire process. You would think she would have understood that she would also have to climb the ramp and get suds up, rinsed off and blown dry. Alas, Emma was simply enjoying watching the entertainment that is Spencer.

Giggling quietly to herself….

As we lift Emma up to the bath, I realize that maybe there is some merit to agility training. Time to get soapy Em! How come I always get stuck with the undercarriage?emma getting washed

And a rinse…emma wash 2

And the blow dry….emma getting dried

Over all, it was a good day at the dog wash!!! And we even made some new  friends!!! dog wash friend 2dog wash friends

Spencer Goes To A Birthday Party

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spencer goes to a birthday party He’s looking for the cake…

If any of you are doubting the truth of my stories of Spencer, I now have witnesses. I had my annual Holiday/birthday party for the kids. Lots of people, LOTS of kids and LOTS AND LOTS of food. Spencer was in heaven with the whole kid/food combination. I warned everyone who came in about Spencer and his thieving, and Cecelia and her sneak attacks. I told Spencer stories and he layed there basking in the attention…

Children love Spence. He is huge and smelly and awkward and very funny and he farts. He’s like a clown dog. And he tolerates little kids trying to ride him or crawl on him. He loves it. Rub his tummy and he smiles…teeth and all. But all the while, he is keeping one eye on any dropped or unattended food. He casually walks by the garbage can and takes a peek, snatches the plate of cake and walks on into the living room to eat while enjoying the tree and the little kids playing. Now if he could just get someone to bring him his smoking jacket and pipe he would be all set sitting regally on the blue velvet sofa. Ass.

As I am standing in the kitchen talking with a friend, behind me Spencer is unattended in the dining room. And in front of at least 5 other people, Spencer takes a HUGE wedge of cake off a plate that was on the table and inhaled it. My friend tried to warn me. She pointed and yelled “DOG!! FOOD!!” and that was all she could get out before the cake was gone. The other guests were amazed at the gracefulness. He didn’ knock the plate off the table. They were impressed with his technique. That’s when he knew he had them all in the palm of his paw. Now he knew that they would bow down to honor him and treat him with the much lack respect previously afforded to such a funny fat smelly mutt. And he sashayed away with attitude…until he took one step on to the laminate flooring and his entire back end went down. And he kind of crawled/dragged himself to the rug, hoisted himself up, shook it off and turned left into the family room where he slid on his belly all the way to the couch. Impressed all the guests. But also made them feel compassion for this dog who is obviously on his last legs. He’s like a movie star past his prime but thinking he’s still got it.

Now, after the party I was cleaning up and putting away all the food. I took the garbage outside, did the dishes, wiped down the counters and let Spence catch the crumbs. After all, he put on a good show. But I either accidental left the fridge ajar or Spencer has another cool new trick. When I got up the next morning, all of my chicken wing dip was gone, half of a cheesecake, carton of eggnog pierced and spilled all over the floor. All of the saran wrap that I had used to cover the food was gone. And I haven’t seen it yet. And I kinda hope I never do.

So added to the list of Spencer tricks is refrigerator opening. I have to think he could be a very useful mutt. He could be trained to help people (lazy people like myself) Work for his meals. But his compulsion is so grand he wouldn’t be able to get me a snack without eating the entire thing before actually getting it to me.

I sat him down and explained the state of our economy and how it coincides with the diet that the vet wants to put him on. See I have no money to buy dog food and he needs to eat less. Serendipity!!

And for Christmas morning I will give him the gift of my grandmother’s cereal bowl for his new food portions and he will most likely give me back the saran wrap, used twice. We love each other and really think about a thoughtful gift for the Holiday. And if I am truly as loved as I think I am, he will leave it right where I will step in it with my bare feet. It’s love, dysfunctional love, but love none the less.

Spencer Goes to a BBQ

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spencer goes to a bbq
his “Westminster” pose…doesn’t LOOK like he’d be licking random grease traps does he?

It’s summer. Spencer is 13 years old. He has cloudy eyes and selective hearing. He has ruined every single one of my antique oriental rugs and now he’s working on ruining the hardwoods. He needs a full time nurse to help him wipe when he poops. And he cannot walk on the hardwoods because they are actually laminate and he just belly flops and can’t get up. Yeah, that’s my dog…He’s fallen and he can’t get up. Real funny except in the middle of the night when he falls in his own pee AND poop and then can’t get up. Cold showers at 3am but not for the same reason as they used to be.

I have made many concessions for this mutt. I have rolled up the rugs. I have spent a small fortune on baby gates. I have invested in dog beds…that’s right, beds. Because he’s a picky sleeper. I have barricaded the stairs so he cannot go upstairs because he throws himself down the stairs and I know he will break a hip one of these days. Basically, he is now confined to one room. The fancy livingroom (which isn’t so fancy anymore minus the rugs and plus the pee and poop).

Last fall I had new storm doors installed. I had my heart set on the full length screen door but I knew that would be a major temptation for Spence. He has never seen a screen door that he didn’t plow through. Still, I talked myself into the full length, stupid expensive, screen door. In the winter, it was a full length glass door that Spencer left nose prints all over. I changed it out, put the screen in, bought yet another heavy duty baby gate to go in front of it and figured I was brilliant…or at least smarter than Spencer.

I was wrong. Oh so wrong. First of all, to get out of my front door, you had to open the door, then the baby gate, then the screen door,go through, while holding the screen door open but closing the baby gate and/or the door all the time yelling at Spencer to “GIT” because he is deaf and trying to escape. It’s a process. One which I am sure the neighbors enjoy watching. Anyway, I have to be vigilant as Spencer loves to roam and the street is busy and the neighbors don’t care for him pooping in their yard and going thru their garbage. I don’t blame them. I don’t like it either.

But Spencer has gotten old. So old that his fur never grew back from his last trip to the groomers last year. He is now a short haired dog with some long hairs here and there. Kinda like an old man with the nose/ear hair growth…He was really acting as if he wasn’t all that interested in escaping or even doing his routine where he does a dive roll through the screen door. The baby gate was pretty secure. I became complacent. I thought he was too old for his antics of yesteryear. Can I be any wronger?

P1050432Emma: I’m sorry. Me: for what? Emma: for having a dumb brother.

The other day we were out and about and I had left the front door open with the baby gate closed and the screen door locked. I got a text from my neighbor who lives 5 house down that Spencer had just come up for a visit and he walked him home and shut the door. WHAT???? How is that possible????? I got home and there is Emma laying in the backyard waiting patiently for someone to let her in. No one knew she had also escaped because she is smart and simply went to the backyard to wait for us to come home. She looked like she knew she was in trouble but she is kind of the asskisser of the pack and was already acting all contrite and remorseful. And what did she do with her time alone outside in the big wide world? Nothing. She waited for us in the backyard. Spencer on the other hand just HAD to go visiting. Lucky for him he decided to visit the guys who like him, or at least tolerate him.

So, exasperated, I close the front door. I am beaten, I give up. Spencer wins. I can’t have nice things. No antique rugs, no full length screen doors.Wait a second… wait one gosh darn second… I am the human here… I am the grown up… I am THE MOM!!! I say open the front door and live life!! That damn dog is not allowed to rule this house!!! And for a few days, I think he understands that I am in charge and what I say goes and I say he is NOT allowed to go THROUGH the screen door ever again! Yeah, he gets it. And just incase he doesn’t I shut the front door every time we leave the house.

All is well…until today. I open the door, I give my warning (which even I am sick of hearing) about not leaving the house, to which Spencer just rolls his rheumy eyes, and I go upstairs. I get a text from my neighbor UP the street that she just sent Spencer home and he is at the front door. WHAT???? I know deja vu right? I run down stairs yelling at the kids that Spencer is outside and I open the baby gate and the screen door, (which now is really just a frame of a door with some screen kind of hanging from the corner), fully expecting to find the arrogant mutt waiting. He’s not there! I send the 8 year old down the street, the 12 year old up the street and I go to the back yard. He couldn’t have gotten far. It had literally been possibly 15 seconds from my neighbor’s text to me arriving outside. No Spencer. No Spencer anywhere. After 15 minutes I start to get worried. He is kind of blind and sometimes deaf and the roads are busy. I know all he wants is food or better yet garbage or nirvana would be something big and dead to roll in…half and hour, still no Spencer. The 12 year old thinks she has picked up his trail as she found a steaming pile of poop right in the middle of the sidewalk around the corner and down about a half a block. At this point, I am driving around, alerting all the responsible dog owners who are out walking their well behaved dogs on leashes. Imagining the worst, that he has been hit by a car and is being taken by ambulance to the ER and that he is uninsured, I drive slower and yell louder. I don’t know why I am yelling because he only hears what he wants to but that is what dog owners in the movies do when their dog is lost.

About 45 minutes and at least 10 trips around the neighborhood, I pull in to the driveway and see that Emma and my 8 year old are sitting on the sidewalk and my 12 year old is walking toward my neighbor who has Spencer by the collar. Relief. I wanted to hug him and kick him all at the same time (Spencer that is, not my neighbor). My neighbor had been driving around looking also and he decided to go home and check his yard again when he saw Spencer’s butt in his next door neighbor’s yard. As he rounded the corner he caught Spence in the grease pan of their grill licking away as if it were his job. My neighbor introduced Spencer to the new neighbor, making sure that the new neighbor understood that Spencer was harmless albeit annoying and then he hauled my dumb dog home.

Spencer was in the mood for some barbeque. It is summer after all. Turd.

P.S. for all of you who may think that I don’t feed Spencer enough please refer to http://ellie072.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/spencer-the-addict/ which will give you an idea of what Spencer is, which is not underfed!

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And THIS spring break we are stuck in the house while it snows and blows. And the kids are sick…and we didn’t even have to leave the house!!!!!

Sparkling By The Way's Blog

Any of you who have read my previous posts where I tell you about my fun and relaxing vacations are obviously reading the wrong blog…because I have never had a fun and relaxing vacation. Ever. My vacations are filled with stress, anger, fear and vomit. That’s MY idea of a good time! This year, despite my recognized and accepted fear of flying, I decided to fly the kids and myself to Florida to visit the Mecca For The Modern American Family, Disney World.

This isn’t our first time. I went as a kid and have been back twice more with my own children. I like Disney. It isn’t an obsession or anything. I appreciate it for what it is, the iconic nature of the place that was built for families. But my idea of a great vacation would be to rent a house in Martha’s Vineyard and shop and eat in…

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